Albert Pinkham Ryder, c. 1905 by Alice Boughton. Smithsonian Institute, aaa_macbgall_8910
Albert Pinkham Ryder
Date: American painter, 1847–1917
Biography: Romantic painter Albert Pinkham Ryder produced his characteristic small canvasses with many layers of glazes. Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Ryder's education ended in grammar school. In the late 1860s his family moved to New York where he began his artistic training, studying with William E. Marshall before entering the National Academy of Design in 1870. Ryder was an early member of the Society of American Artists, a group of innovative younger artists who rebelled against the conservatism of the Academy. He traveled to Europe for the first time in 1877, drawing inspiration from the French Barbizon School. His early paintings represented landscapes with small animals or figures, and an 1882 trip to North Africa inspired a series of Orientalist works, but over time his interest turned toward darker and more fantastic subjects. His late subjects included Death on a Pale Horse, Siegfried and the Rhine Maidens, and a series of moonlit marine paintings that show humans at the mercy of overwhelming natural forces. Late in life, Ryder became somewhat of a recluse, exhibiting his work less and reworking earlier paintings, sometimes using unstable techniques.